The Trump administration has been largely absent from the ongoing climate change conference in Bonn, Germany. For the past week, and the remainder of this week, world and industries leaders are working out how to meet the goals of last year's Paris Climate Accord, the landmark agreement in which every nation on earth agreed to lower fossil fuel emissions in order to save the planet from catastrophic climate change. Every nation on Earth, that is, except the U.S.
The Trump administration will, as the New York Times reports, make its debut at the conference Monday, where they will lead a forum on why we should actually be burning more fossil fuels. Speakers will include suits from the Peabody Energy, the world's largest privately held coal company, as well as from the natural gas and nuclear power industries. As climate hawk and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said on Twitter, "Promoting coal at a climate summit is like promoting tobacco at a cancer summit."
There is, however, a bright spot to this otherwise embarrassing showing: Leaders from American states, cities, and industries are showing up. America's Pledge, a group convened by Bloomberg and California Governor Jerry Brown, has promised to continue to work to lower carbon emissions, with or without the President's help. That coalition, which includes over 2,500 cities, counties, states, businesses, tribes, unversities, and churches (including both the city of Seattle and Gov. Jay Inslee, who is at the conference in Bonn), would be the third-largest economy in the world, smaller than only the U.S. and China, if it existed as its own entity.
As the Times notes, even as the Trump administration rolls back Obama-era climate promises like both the Clean Power Plan, Obama's signature emissions-reducing policy, Trump isn't bringing coal back. It's the falling price of both renewables and natural gas, as well as decreasing demand from China, that is tanking the coal industry, not cumbersome environmental regulations, as Trump and his ilk would have you believe. In other words, it's the economy, stupid. And "stupid," in this case, is Donald Trump.